River YouTube Stars Approached By Columbus Police Over Life Vest Law
We introduced you to local YouTube stars who dive for treasure down at the Chattahoochee river. Most of their videos pull hundreds of thousands of views.
People all over the country tune in to see what they find.
But, a video they posted the other week, got a little different response.
A Columbus Police Officer called out the two YouTubers, Brandon Jordan and Tristan Yaptengco for not wearing life vests, which is the law when out on the river.
“It just came more to light because we had so many drownings recently and that’s why we are paying closer attention trying to save people,” said Major J.D. Hawks, with Columbus Police Department’s Bureau of Patrol Services.
But, Jordan explained he was wearing a life vest the whole time and it’s just hard to tell because it blends into his shirt. Yaptengco, though, was not wearing a life vest and was issued a $250 citation.
“I was in the wrong and now we are going to take steps to make sure everyone else stays safe,” said Yaptengco.
“The officers aren’t there, as projected, to harass people and it’s not a joke to us. That officer saw something that appeared to be a violation, so he checked into it further. One was in violation and one wasn’t. I guess things you see on social media, some want to make a joke out of it. It’s not a joke. We are serious about this,” said Major Hawk.
In the moment, Jordan was upset with how the whole interaction played out and posted it to his YouTube Channel, “Jiggin’ with Jordan.”
But, after the comments started flooding in, he wanted to clear this up: they aren’t above the law and they understood where the officer was coming from.
“One thing I want to make extremely clear, especially for those who’ve seen the whole video, it’s not us against law enforcement. I truly respect those in blue, I have relatives in law enforcement. So, we understand the importance of their job. This was nothing to bash them. This was a situation I dealt with on the river and at the end of the day, I think we could have both handled the situation better. I was a little too defensive and he didn’t understand the whole situation as it unraveled,” said Jordan.
They are going to use this situation as an example on how extremely important it is to follow the rules when out on the river.
“We want to be those role models and we don’t like hearing anything bad happening at the river and recently there’s been a lot of that. So, we do want to take the steps needed to be in line with everything the city wants and show you can still have fun while still being safe,” said Jordan.
The three also stress how important it is when out on the river to swim with a buddy and bring scissors or some sort of sharp object just in case you need to cut yourself free.
They say there’s all sorts of different life vests out there that you can swim and dive in. So, this is a lesson to them as well, to always have those three things with them before heading out to the river.